Cops: Pupils were aided in ‘witchcraft’ burnings

Youths who allegedly burnt two 60-year old women to death over a witchcraft claim are believed to have received the assistance from the local community, police said on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Jabulani Mdletshe said police believed the double murder was pre-planned and that residents from the Manguzi area in northern KwaZulu-Natal had assisted a group of school pupils from Manhlenga High School to set two women alight on Monday night.

The two women — Mangubane Msaba Zungu and Qibile Thabitha Thusi — were dragged from their home by a large group of youths and residents and taken to a sports field. There they were doused with petrol and set alight.

Zungu died at the scene and Thusi later died at hospital.

”We are now working on identifying the suspects so that arrests can be made,” he said.

Police believe this was an attempt by pupils to rid their school of evil spirits.

Mdletshe said pupils had been ”acting strangely” since August 17.

”Many of the pupils started crying for no apparent reason. Some claimed they wanted meat during their crying,” he said.

He said they believed that an evil spirit had possessed them.

”There were apparently a few meetings held by the pupils to discuss the matter. At one of the meetings it was allegedly suggested that the two women may have bewitched the school,” he said.

Durban’s Organised Crime Unit has been roped in to help with the investigation.

The KwaZulu-Natal education department announced on Wednesday morning that it had sent a ward manager to the school to investigate.

”We have sent a ward manager to the school to investigate the matter. But if it is true, it’s absolutely terrible and action should be taken against those responsible,” education spokesperson Christie Naude said. — Sapa

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